Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And so its going.....

Good morning, 9am here means 3am back home...this is still somewhat of an abstract idea to me. Yes yes...I know we all understand how the earth's rotation works and that the sun can only be on one side of the earth or another...but still, I was never a morning person at home and now I can't seems to sleep past 8. This inevitably proves that miracles do happen.

Enough with the rambling.

My calendar reminded me this morning that today is September 21 which means we have been out of the States for exactly five weeks and one day. I was deliberating about buying a bicycle I found yesterday for a tremendous deal, then to my dismay I realized that we are leaving the country in less than four weeks. This high mobility stuff really puts a damper on getting settled in somewhere.

I suppose that is the point of this whole process though. From what I've been learning at our professional visits any job in the field I'm hoping to enter will be highly mobile with transitionary job descriptions that are short in duration and vague in mandate. The initial shock of being somewhere else indefinitely has subsided, but there is a whole new process of some sort of psychological transition that I'm observing from myself and all other members of our group.

It is certainly an exceptional (in the atypical sense) position to be put in. Only 11 hours of our aggregate week are spoken for via mandatory class attendance. The other 157 available hours of each week are wide open to anything we can imagine (or realistically, afford.) What then, do you fill the time with? Our relative position to the city is not too far, but not too close either. Going downtown with a specific goal takes a considerable portion of your day. Therefore trying to be especially *studious* can be hampered by entertainment quite easily. I'm my case in particular the two events are mutually exclusive.  Though only 11 hours are required for class, the amount of reading we are assigned is pretty enormous if you really want to grasp it all. Therefore, the process of watching myself and nine other people try and learn to balance the two in this kind of environment is pretty intriguing.  

Of the ten of us, I don't think anyone has been adapting in similar ways. This psychological transition is definitely wearing on some more than others...obviously everyone has different needs and different mental compositions. There are a slew of activities: drinking, shopping, slothing, exercising, going "awol", etc...all of which sound no different than anything there is to do back home to cope, yet there is no reenforcement by friends/family/comforts of being somewhere "safe."

We were all told about "culture shock" both in our handbook and by the student counselor at orientation in Leiden, yet watching it all played out is a different story all together. Mentally I picture all of us living in the bunker from LOST with the countdown clock slowly ticking away, though alternative to the show's plot, no one acts like anything will happen when the numbers hit zero; incredulous observation if you will.

I'm left to wonder what will happen when the clock runs down; a massive explosion, a jack popping out of a box, or will I end up like Desmond....laying naked in a field with new trans-reality hopping powers that link one dimension to another. Though unlikely, the latter option sounds rather appealing.

For anyone that never watched LOST in its entirety I am truly sorry for the previous paragraph's analogy....that being said, if you haven't already, don't watch the show unless you want to be utterly disappointed by a limp, weak-ended, mind-exhausting finale of a should-have-been work of art that turned out to be an overextended mind-fart.

Yes, I am still truly bitter about this whole fiasco.

Or, as I like to say...."6 years, LOST."
And thats my opinion on the season finale. Good day.


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